Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Grace and Peace at a Glance

to you 
and peace 
from God our Father 
and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Philippians 1:2 | NASB

     Paul begins his letter with the Heavenly Father and Jesus' offer of grace and peace. In a fallen world where so much pain resides around us, we all need His grace and peace.
     Grace is an undeserved and unearned gift freely offered for all. It's bestowed on us from the One who knew us from before time began. The Father and Son withhold it from none who truly seek after it.
     Peace is the assurance of a relationship with our Creator who made us for fellowship with Him and one another. It means the enmity that once existed between us due to our sin has been removed because of what the Father provided through Jesus. It's about reconciliation and restoration.
     Grace and peace, gifts, free and ready for all to receive.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Leave With Grace and Kindness

I recently handed in my resignation at my job. With it, I sat down with my manager and supervisor and gave them an explanation as to the reason this place of employment was no longer a good fit for me. I honestly but kindly voiced the areas that caused me concern and the reasons that I no longer felt comfortable working there. 

During my three years of employment I've sat down with the leadership within and without my branch many times to discuss my issues with the way things were being done. Sometimes it resulted in the necessary changes or a compromise that was best for everyone. Other times the only adjustment necessary was with me and my attitude.

I made sure whenever I talked about my issues, I didn't degrade the person, even though I strongly disagreed with their methods in doing the job. I always treated my co-workers with kindness and respect even when no compromise took place.

When it came time to leave, I didn't butter my resignation with "God's leading" me away. The truth is, rarely will anyone seek a new place of employment when they love their present one. Dissatisfaction with the job or workplace causes one to look for something new. 

Yes, I believe the Lord provided my new job, and it will be a better fit for me. Yet, I left because I wasn't happy there, and I accept full responsibility for my lack of contentment. I displayed honor in my explanation of my decision, and when I left I did it without burning any bridges in my relationships with the people there.

Honestly, it breaks my heart as a pastor's wife when the same consideration and kindness doesn't take place within our places of ministry. I understand the need for some to leave and seek a ministry they feel may better fit their preferences. What hurts is the way most choose to do it. 

Some leave without ever voicing what they are unhappy about to my husband, and others voice their struggles but eventually leave. The decision to seek a different ministry is not the issue as much as what is done in the process of leaving or after they leave. Both groups described above, usually leave and proceeded to speak unkind words to others about my husband's personality, education, methods, and/or talents. Rarely do we hear they have complained about his theology or doctrine.

I myself fell prey to this sin when it came to my problems with my job, and then the Lord reminded me that voicing my complaint about others behind their back dishonored Him. He showed me that if I was unable to work out my differences with others face-to-face, He wanted me keep my words to myself and choose to disagree in an agreeable and kind manner toward them and when speaking about them. I realized since I was the one uncomfortable with the way things were being done at my job, I needed to seek employment that better fit my needs and preferences.

People have never told my husband they were leaving, because they didn't feel it was a good fit for them anymore. Instead they have given false excuses while telling others the real reason. Others buried my husband alive in their cruel and angry words before leaving.

My husband's conclusion after multiple exit interviews like these over the years was to no longer seek doing one with those who don't ask for it. He lets people leave without providing them with an opportunity to sin against him. The church is a voluntary place to serve and everyone has a right to stay or go. May we always choose to make our decisions in a way that honors the Lord and others at all times.